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Chapter 2

  • "Don't worry Mom, I'll be with you or with Carol, she promised we could go to the lake with Olivia. It's still warm enough to go out on their boat and do some water skiing." It was pretty late in the season in Minnesota, it wouldn't be warm but we had higher body temperatures than humans and with wetsuits we would be fine. I had been water skiing on the Missouri River since I was four, it was a blast. "I'll behave for the meet and greet and then we'll be back for dinner."
  • "We know you will, Ella. We love you, we just want the best for you."
  • I looked out the window, we had taken the exit from I-94 and were now moving through the outskirts of the small city. "Me too, Dad, but what is best for me is a third or fourth son of an Alpha. I'm just scared of what happens if my mate ends up being a first son."
  • "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, Ella. No matter what, we'll be happy you're with your mate."
  • Why a third or fourth son? Well, the first son was the Alpha heir, and the second was usually his Beta. The sons stayed with their pack of birth, and it was expected their mate would drop everything, leave her Pack and everyone she knows, and go be his Luna. In my case, this would leave my Pack without a successor in case my parents died or stepped down. I hated the idea of strangers fighting for the right to MY packs' Alpha position because I was stuck somewhere else. If it was a later son, they still had Alpha blood but didn't have a high position waiting for them in their Pack. For them, it was better to find a wolf like me; they would move to my Pack and we would be next in line for Alphas.
  • The other reason was that the oldest sons grow up knowing they are next, that they will have power, and many of them are stuck up assholes. I have no interest in 'hooking up' with them, and I hate when boys think I'm just going to drop my panties because they wiggle their eyebrows at me. I've got other plans.
  • I dug into my purse for my comb and mirror, we were getting close. I wiped my face clean, got the hair back under control, and applied a touch of makeup so I wouldn't look like I just spent eight hours in the back of a car.
  • It wasn't much longer until we were outside the city again, and turning on to a dirt road that led into the woods. We passed a fence and a gate, there was a werewolf holding it open as we were expected and they had our license plate number. When a werewolf travels to another Pack territory, they have to get permission from that Alpha first. For an Alpha to travel, the plans are more detailed.
  • The dirt road wound through the woods until it opened up into what looked like a typical residential subdivision, but I could see some differences as I knew what to look for. The largest house, on a small hill in the center, was the Pack house and Alpha residence. It was by far the biggest and grandest. The house was surrounded on three sides by roads and smaller houses, and the farther you got from the center the smaller and simpler the houses were. The higher the Pack rank, the larger the house. Behind the Pack house were huge grass fields, used for training, and a gym in a large steel building.
  • I picked out the reinforced positions where snipers could be placed in upper floors. The buildings were laid out so the defenders in the Pack house had clear lines of fire all the way to the surrounding trees. Emergency shelters were spaced such that no one was more than a few hundred feet from the nearest one. The Pack house itself had operating shutters, fireproof siding and roof, and reinforced concrete construction. It was made to survive an attack against a much larger force, yet from the air it looked like any other housing development. No one knew every resident was a Werewolf.
  • Our existence was a carefully guarded secret.
  • Dad pulled up in front of the Pack house, and there was a reception line waiting for us. "OK, everyone smile and stay sharp. We can't trust them yet." I nodded at my father as we got out and walked around.
  • I took a deep sniff of the air, picking out the scents of the gathered Alphas and their families.
  • *********
  • I wasn't the only one deeply sniffing the scents being carried along by the light breeze. Several of the young men lined up were also leaning their heads back and taking deep breaths, trying to pick up on whether the newcomer was their mate.
  • My wolf yawned in my mind. Nothing.
  • I would live for another day!
  • I smiled and joined my parents as they walked to the host Alpha family, taking my place behind my parents. Alpha Goodwin was in his sixties, and was as old fashioned a wolf as they came. "Thank you for having us, Marvin." My Dad introduced Emma, who he had met shortly after she and Dad were mated, then they moved down so he could shake my hand. "And this is Ella, our Alpha heiress and soon to be college student." I smiled and gripped his hand firmly as I had been taught, glancing at his eyes then lowering them so as not to present a challenge.
  • "Pleased to meet you, Ella. You're as striking as your mother, those eyes... ah, they remind me of my late wife." He gestured at his family next to him. "This is my son and heir Hunter and his mate April, and my son Curtis." The older pair made a cute couple, while the younger one looked at me like a piece of fresh meat on the grill. I was polite but gave Curtis the "not interested" look I had perfected in high school. "Have you found your mate yet, young lady?"
  • "No, sir, I haven't come across him yet." I tried to look disinterested.
  • "No matter, a woman of your breeding stock shouldn't have to depend on chance. I'm sure your parents can find you a suitable match." I mind linked my father, who explained that Alpha Curtis looked for decades for his mate before settling for Michelle Anderson, younger sister of the Brainerd Pack Alpha. She died about a decade ago, he said, and Curtis kept going only because his boys weren't ready to take over yet.
  • "I'm not in a hurry, Luna has a plan for me I'm sure." The group moved down to the next family.